It was New Year’s Eve, 2011, and Madison Garrett was a seemingly healthy 2 ½-year-old when she suffered a grand mal seizure at home. That night, at their local emergency room, Barbara and Tim Garrett were told that their daughter had instead a mild seizure as a result of a fever. They knew something wasn’t right, because their oldest daughter had experienced seizures.
On top of the seizure, Barbara was beginning to suspect something was wrong with Madison’s eye. Two days later they took her to their local pediatrician, but before they even left his office, Madison had another seizure. A second trip to the ER revealed that Madison had retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer of the eye.
Barbara fainted when she heard the diagnosis. …
“At school I was seeing double today, Mom,” said 9-year-old Eliza in May of 2015. Catherine hadn’t noticed her daughter’s eyes crossing and suspected that her fourth grader was simply tired.
A few weeks later, however, Catherine and her husband were sitting in the front row at Eliza’s chorus concert, when suddenly they both noticed their daughter’s eye was crossed. It was Eliza’s 10th birthday.
“She was fine one day, and then the next her eyes weren’t working together,” says Catherine. “It was terrifying.” …
Boston Children’s Hospital’s doctors and researchers are constantly working to uncover and understand health and medical questions. Health Headlines is a twice-monthly summary of some of the most important research findings.
Top news this week includes research focused on the link between screens and nearsightedness, a revolutionary new diet theory and a study underscoring the health benefits of skin-to-skin contact for preemies.
HealthDay News reports children who spend lots of time indoors and on computers and other electronic devices may be raising their risk for nearsightedness, a panel of U.S. ophthalmology experts suggests. Boston Children’s Dr. David Hunter explains what nearsightedness is and how going outside helps your eyes see farther away.
Boston Children’s Dr. David Ludwig, has developed a startling new theory that turns traditional diet advice on its head: overeating doesn’t make you fat; the process of getting fat makes you overeat. In his new book, Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently, Ludwig lays out his premise that our 40-year embrace of calories in, calories out has actually contributed to weight gain. He recently did a Q&A interview with Forbes.com about his research and how he came to understand that the biology of weight loss was far more complicated than “eat less, move more.”
International Business Times reports on a study from Boston Children’s Dr. Grace Chan that finds skin-to-skin contact may reduce deaths for infants with low birth weight. Low birth weight infants are particularly vulnerable during their first month of life so the researchers encourage skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo mother care (KMC), especially in developing countries where conventional treatments are not widely available.
Learn more about the Boston Children’s Department of Ophthalmology.
Zackery Harper is a 26-year-old registered nurse from Knoxville, Tenn. There was a time when he thought he’d spend his whole life dealing with a mysterious case of double vision that baffled every doctor who attempted to treat him. Unable to accept that no one could fix his vision, Zack devoted himself to searching the Internet for answers. It was a journey that took many late nights, ending in more than a few dead ends and eventually landed him more than 900 miles from Knoxville to Boston.
By Zackery Harper
At one point, I truly believed I’d have to live with double vision for the rest of my life. After developing strabismus at age 3, an eye condition that occurs when the eyes are not aligned properly, I had two surgeries to correct the problem. But not only were the surgeries unsuccessful, the second left me with an unexplained case of double vision. My doctors were mystified, and after multiple surgeries to realign my vision, I still saw the world very differently than most people. Eventually, my doctors told me there was nothing else they could do; I’d inevitably have to learn how to live with this visual disturbance and try to make the best of it.
I spent four years trying to come to terms with the fact that I would never have “normal” vision again, but it’s a hard fact to accept when you’re a young adult with your entire life ahead of you. I just couldn’t bring myself to give up so I kept researching my condition, hoping that there was someone out there who could help me. My search took me to David Hunter, MD, PhD, ophthalmologist-in-chief of Boston Children’s Department of Ophthalmology.
The more I read about Dr. Hunter, the more I allowed myself to believe he might be the doctor I’d been searching for. I emailed him my story, and the next day I received a response from Dr. Hunter saying he had reviewed my case and thought he could help. In a few days time, my parents and I were on a Boston-bound plane.
After my initial meeting with Dr. Hunter, I was struck by two things: his down-to-earth, friendly attitude and his confidence. Having spent years hearing, “I’m sorry there’s nothing more we can do,” Dr. Hunter’s assertion that my double vision was treatable was like a dream come true.
He explained that I had a complication of strabismus that didn’t present in the usual fashion, which is why so many other doctors had failed to recognize the underlying problem with my eyes. To correct my
sight, I would need to undergo another realignment surgery, but this time utilizing a surgical technique that left two adjustable sutures in my eyes. These adjustable sutures allow the ophthalmologist to readjust the position of my eye the day of surgery or even a few days later, but without the need for additional surgery. If my eye alignment drifted in the days after surgery, I could see Dr. Hunter who could readjust my vision manually, without having to readmit me to the hospital. (Something he did on more than one occasion.)
Because I had such a complex case of strabismus I did need two more surgeries over the next year to fully correct my double vision, but they were successful. Now, I am fully healed and working as a nurse—something I never could have continued if I still suffered from extremely distorted vision. Dr. Hunter’s ability to look at a problem differently means I no longer have to see everything that way. I have him to thank for giving me my life back.
To learn more about Dr. Hunter’s work, or to make an appointment with a member of our Ophthalmology team, visit the Department of Ophthalmology website.